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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: J.J. McCarthy (QB – Michigan)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: J.J. McCarthy (QB – Michigan)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: J.J. McCarthy

J.J. McCarthy (QB – Michigan)

6’3” – 202 lbs.

Background:

Four-star recruit who backed up Cade McNamara in 2021 before taking over the starting job the following year. Over the past two years, has led Michigan to a 25-1 record heading into this year’s college football playoffs, going 12-1 last year with 2,719 yards (64.6%, 8.4 YPA), 22 touchdowns, and five interceptions (70-306-5 rushing.) This year, has been more efficient, with 2,630 yards (74.2%, 9.2), 19 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Positives:

Two-year starter who’s won virtually every game he’s started at the college level. Plays in a relatively pro-style offense that asked him to regularly work through progressions, including full-field reads; stat sheet doesn’t always reflect how advanced his responsibilities were. Nice wide base at the end of his drops, and stays light on his feet in the pocket. Executes rhythm-based throws on time. Moves well in the pocket to buy time when facing pressure, keeping his eyes downfield. Makes good decisions with the football. Doesn’t get locked onto receivers and is capable of coming off of primary reads and hitting checkdowns when it’s not there. Has an easy three-quarters release with good elasticity. Reproduces his throwing motion effectively. Able to transfer weight effectively and get solid velocity on the ball when needed. Trusts his arm and doesn’t need to see receivers wide open to throw the ball; confidently attacks defenses by firing passes into tight windows on makeable throws. Generally shows very good placement on throws over the middle of the field. Knows when to take something off of his throws. Shows the toughness to stand in the pocket and absorb a hit to complete a throw. Can shake off arm tackles and take advantage of lanes, with athleticism that’s above-average. Did some designed runs on package plays and is capable of picking up the occasional first-down.

Negatives:

Rarely had to put the team on his back and carry them to a win with a high number of attempts; just three games this year with thirty throws, and one game over 300 yards. Was often able to work off of play action from clean pockets. Some occasional issues with ball placement when throwing outside the numbers; misses are a combination of bouncing passes wide, or occasionally placing passes too high for his receivers to catch comfortably. Takes some punishment and has a frame that’s a little bit lighter than you’d like.

Summary:

A very advanced quarterback prospect who’s helped Michigan dominate college football over the past two years. He didn’t have to throw the ball as much as some of the other top prospects, but he was asked to work through progressions and make pro-style throws more often than most of his peers. Consequently, his learning curve at the pro level should be a bit gentler than even some of the more experienced passers in the class. Combination of fundamentals, patience, decision-making, velocity, and toughness should make him a first-round pick, probably as the third or fourth passer off the board on draft day.

Projection: Round 1

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